For the first time in five seasons, NBA teams playing on Christmas Day will not have unique jerseys. The league’s retailer switched from Adidas to Nike over the offseason, and the five-year tradition will at least temporarily come to an end during the 2017 Christmas games.
"We won't have anything formal,” a Nike spokesman confirmed to SB Nation.
Before 2012, the league would sometimes put together teams who would wear red and green jerseys while playing each other. A few years before that, the Christmas Day slate would just feature normal uniforms.
The Sixers are simply wearing a Nike-ized version of last year’s Christmas uniforms. The Knicks are wearing their normal white home jerseys.
Though the Adidas experiment started questionably, the past two years featured great jerseys with script fonts and cream colors. I loved them and thought the jerseys were headed in the right direction.
Under Nike, teams have switched to wearing colored jerseys at home and white ones on the road, and every franchise has two alternates, too. The final, fourth alternates have yet to be formally revealed, but they leaked through NBA 2K earlier this year. It does not appear they will be unveiled on Christmas.
Why didn’t Nike make Christmas jerseys?
We don’t know, but there are two likely reasons. First, it’s possible that Nike just wasn’t ready in time for Christmas — we’ve seen jerseys rip, and there have apparently been other retailer problems, as ESPN’s Darren Rovell points out.
Really hard to understand how Nike was seemingly so unprepared for their first NBA season. Jersey tears on the court, supply chain issues with fan jerseys, no special XMas jerseys.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 25, 2017
The other reason is that this was a purposeful choice. Perhaps Christmas Day jerseys hadn’t sold well — I’ve never seen one in public, personally — and Nike chose to cut their losses. This would have been a good chance to unveil Nike’s fourth jerseys for each team, but it doesn’t appear that will happen, either.
But even if they don’t sell well, Nike might have underestimated the public appreciation for the special Christmas Day threads.
People aren’t happy with Nike (including me)
THERE'S NO SPECIAL CHRISTMAS JERSEYS THIS YEAR AND WYD NIKE I'M EXTREMELY MAD ONLINE— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) December 25, 2017
Boycott Nike 2018. Nike ruined Christmas. https://t.co/4L3G2Y65NG— shawn? (@ChaoticWeg) December 25, 2017
Nike jerseys have been a pretty big disappointment if were being honest https://t.co/qupSy7DzUP— Live, Laugh, Love (@demeatloaf) December 25, 2017
Nike is really bad at this whole jersey thing https://t.co/EubweSBTc3— Cash Rock Thunder Mammal (@De_Cleveland) December 25, 2017
And then Nike decided not to make Christmas Jerseys this year???? Smh— jon snow (@KingBozzvy) December 25, 2017
Oh yeah no Christmas jerseys? Cmon man— Isaiah (@Razzledazzle_12) December 25, 2017
No Christmas jerseys this year? What was Nike thinking?— Varnel Hill (@32Billion) December 25, 2017
Maybe we’ll collectively get over it if Nike just doesn’t do Christmas jerseys. But right now, this seems like a silly choice over a tradition that had become increasingly beloved.